The People Fund of Maui is an assistance fund set up by Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to help the people of Maui, Hawaii, who have been forced to leave their homes because of the recent deadly wildfires. Winfrey and Johnson started the fund with $10 million. Direct financial aid to afflicted families and individuals is its purpose. Maui police report 115 wildfire-related deaths as of August 30. This is the deadliest American wildfire in contemporary history.
Residents who are 18 or older and can’t go back to their homes because of the fires can get $1,200 per month from the fund. Applicants for a lost or unusable home must produce a government ID and power bill in their name. The charity will keep seeking donations to aid people longer.
Winfrey, who owns a Maui house, stated in a news release, “The main thing I’ve been hearing is that they’re worried about how to move forward with the huge financial burden.” Johnson, a Hawaii native, stated, “Mauians get together and rise even in hard circumstances. Our strength comes from that.” The Entertainment Industry Fund, a Los Angeles nonprofit that assists celebrities with humanitarian activities, sponsors the People’s Fund of Maui. Based on support, Winfrey and Johnson hope to keep the fund functioning for six months.
The idea came from Dolly Parton’s 2016 Gatlinburg wildfire fund. President of The Dollywood Foundation, Jeff Conyers, met with Winfrey’s staff to share his lessons from operating Parton’s fund, which granted $11 million to homeless families.
The Maui People’s Fund will work with a board of advisors, community, and famous older people. Hklani Holt-Padilla, Keali’i Reichel, Archie Kalepa, and other community leaders serve on the board. A news statement from Johnson stated, “These leaders are giving us advice so that our fund can give money directly to the people who need it most.”
In an Instagram video, Winfrey and Johnson discussed helping Maui residents. Winfrey stated they had been discussing how to achieve this. Winfrey said in the video, “We want this fund to last as long as you, America, choose to help us with it.” Maui wildfires have damaged much of Lahaina and Kula, causing many residents to move and damaging property. “You want to meet people’s biggest need, money,” Johnson said. The University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Social Work found that Parton’s charity helped 1,000 households. Winfrey and Johnson want their fund to succeed. They wish to help the needy every month for six months.
The Maui People’s Fund goes beyond short-term help. Instead, it acts as a bridge for affected families and individuals, letting them determine how to spend the money to recover. The long-term impacts of such projects include “Coral’s legacy will undoubtedly inspire generations to come,” stated Toyota Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer Vin Naidoo.